*Dismisses allegation that ongoing constructions were responsible for flooding in parts of the state.
The Rivers government has advised local government chairpersons and its ministries, departments and agencies (MDA) to prepare for emergency situations in flood-prone communities across the state.
The advice followed the 2021 Nigerian Metrological Agency (NiMET) and the Nigerian Hydrological Service Agency (NIHSA) warnings of adverse weather predictions across the country and in particular Rivers State.
In press statement, Juliana Masi, press officer in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government said the advice was given at a closed-door meeting with the affected council chairmen, NEMA officials, and the relevant MDAs presided over by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo in Port Harcourt.
Dr Danagogo who represented Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike said a meeting was necessary in order to prepare for emergencies that may arise as a result of flood situations in the state.
He said of particular importance is the precarious position of Rivers State as regards the flood predictions of NiMET and the state’s geological position at the bank of the Atlantic Ocean.
Danagogo informed the council chiefs that, as Chief Security Officers of their localities, they must be proactive in facing and overcoming the challenges of their residents in the event of flood.
He noted that NEMA, which has catalogued the diverse challenges of emergency management during floods, needs the collaboration of the councils who know their communities better.
“Governor Nyesom Wike, has directed me to interface with NEMA, council chairmen, and relevant ministries to guarantee that all parties know their roles in order to avert the expected flood that may result in the displacement of our people.
“I believe that by the time you synergize your experiences with the expertise from NEMA, we should be able to work and provide solutions against flood disaster in our state.
“I further urge residents of our dear state to imbibe good sanitary habits. Do not dump refuse in the gutters or build on water channels. Such crude habits will only compound flood situations across the state,” he added.
The SSG earlier commiserated with the local government Chairmen over the sudden demise of one of them, Hon. David Irimagha. Executive chairman of Bonny local government area.
NEMA South-South Zonal Coordinator, Mr. Godwin Tepikor noted that it was important the state prepare for the looming flood that will affect the local governments adversely.
He noted that by the second week of November, the rains will be adverse and urged all persons in flood-prone communities to be prepared and move out to designated camps if need be.
Also speaking, Rivers Commissioner for Special Duties, Hon Emeka Onowu, acknowledged that IDP camps were being prepared for predicted areas that might be affected in the 2021 scientific weather report.
The affected local government areas include Port Harcourt, Ahoada East, Ahoada West, Asari Toru, Akuku Toru, Etche, Eleme, Abua/Odual, Andoni, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Obio/Akpor, Khana, Oyigbo, Okrika, Tai, and Ogu/Bolo.
In a related development, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Elloka Tasie-Amadi, has attributed the recent flash floods in some parts of Port Harcourt metropolis to the indiscriminate dumping of refuse in drainages and flood canals.
Mr Tasie-Amadi dismissed the claims that the flood incident was because of activities of some residents are reclaiming lands from canals and building on them.
He said even though government is spending a lot to evacuate waste in drainages, residents are not being responsible about where they dispose their wastes
Mr Tasie-Amadi said the ongoing construction in some parts of Port Harcourt is not responsible for the flood and recommended that buildings on canals be demolished.
Some areas of Port Harcourt were submerged in water following heavy rainfall of last Tuesday. They flood took over roads and vehicles, leaving residents, commuters and businesses stranded in areas like Peter Odili, Azikiwe Road, D-line, GRA, Rumukalagbo and Rumuokwuta roads and SARS road in Rukpokwu.
The ground floor of the Port Harcourt Mall (SPAR) beside the Government House was flooded.
The manager of the Mall, Chioma Okoye, told our correspondent that flooding in the area worsened after Julius Berger worked on the road in front of the mall.
She called on the company to return and do a proper job on the drainages.